“The customer is always right,” is a phrase we hear all too often. Whilst we agree that exceptional customer service is integral to ours, yours and any else’s business, there are times – especially in the catering and service industry – where the customer can overstep the mark into rudeness.
We’ve decided to highlight some of the worst customer actions that really grind our gears, even if we put on a brave face and smile through the internal anger.
If you work in the service industry, then you’ll have experienced at the very least one of these customers!
If you work in a kitchen, have worked in a restaurant, takeaway, cafe or coffee shop, then customers who do any of the following are likely to be ingrained into your memory.
1. Acting like a VIP
Giving customers VIP treatment is a must, but it’s not always nice when customers come into your business and act like a VIP.
Essentially expecting ridiculous requests to be met, be that asking for tables that are already filled, asking for water at a specific temperature.
A please and thank you would also be nice.
2. Turn up unexpected without a booking
Unlike the VIP, turning up and expecting or demanding a table on a busy Saturday night is just infuriating. If we can squeeze you or fit you in, then it might not be a problem.
But to turn up and genuinely expecting to be given a table despite the fact that our establishment is often fully booked on a weekend.
How hard is it to call in advance? Heck, we even have website booking in most cases now! Use it.
3. Clicking fingers
This is probably one of the single rudest things that a customer can do. If you’ve been on the receiving end of a ‘clicking’ then you’ll know exactly what it feels like!
Getting attention in a busy restaurant, cafe or other is difficult, we understand that. But throwing your hand into the air and clicking is not the ‘right way’ to go about getting staff to notice you!
A simple wave is more than enough, but don’t tap a member of staff, that’s a no-no too.
So stop snapping your fingers before we get the urge to snap them off…
4. Awkward recipe adjustments
Yes we can cater for the fact that you want extra bacon in your burger, but it’s not this that we’re talking about.
Our menu has likely been developed over time to not only give you the best dining experience, but also for costing purposes. We have set prices for a reason!
If you come in and feel like changing our entire menu to suit you, then it’s probably best that you cook for yourself! Save everyone the hassle!
5. Stacking plates
Whilst this is probably a minor gripe, stacking plates doesn’t necessarily help anyone. Not only are staff less likely to be able to carry an entire plate pyramid, but separating the plates into ‘mini piles’ takes time and gets messy.
It’s easier to just pass your plates to the waiting staff across the table, much better.
And whilst we have you here, please don’t put napkins on plates on in cups, we understand that you are trying to help, but it slows the whole process down.
6. Unruly children
You might think that your children are cute or ‘just being kids’, but running amok around our dining area directly affects not only us as caterers, but our other customers.
We understand that children can be impatient, get upset easily or get cranky from time-to-time, so we can provide distractions or solutions to help keep them occupied.
But we are not babysitters, please don’t just tune your children out if they shriek and whine either. It’s not exactly fair on everyone else.
7. Not putting away your mobile phone
Firstly, although this could mean those customers who are so ignorant they don’t even look up from their smartphone screen to place and order, or speak on the phone whilst conversing intermittently with serving staff.
We also mean those who put their incredibly expensive devices on the table in plain sight right where a small spillage or droppage could end up being catastrophic.
Please put your phone in your pocket whilst at the table, or at the very least put it on the table after we’ve served you.
8. Not remembering what you ordered
We’ve taken your order, we’ve prepared everything to perfection, and now you’ve forgotten what you and fellow diners have ordered. Great.
Most of the time, this isn’t a problem as our staff will know what you ordered better than you do. But, if you are in a large group, it’s likely that we’ll have other serving staff help get the dishes out as quick as possible, we don’t want to be stood there asking who ordered what any more than you do waiting.
So please try and remember what you’ve ordered.
9. Bill splitting penny counters
Splitting the bill isn’t an issue for the most part, we don’t expect as business owners that a table of 10-15 people won’t want to split the cost of their food.
It’s the penny pinchers and counters that really grind our gears.
Split the bill evenly or request a separate bill if necessary. At the end of the day, even if your meal cost £3 less than the average, you’ll have contributed to the tip and it is likely to even out the over the times you do dine again.
10 . Trip Advisor terrorisers
This is becoming more and more common as the platform has become synonymous with pre-research on your favourite eateries.
Trying to dine out on the cheap is something that people are starting to really abuse. The scenario tends to play-out something like this. Table orders an expensive dish, drinks and then your waiting staff get told that these ‘diners’ are doing a TripAdvisor review and want a free meal.
Once told no, they start picking fault or inventing faults with their food and service, before leaving an awful review on the site. Completely falsely.
TripAdvisor couldn’t care less about taking down the malicious review, and so this extortion racket continues by a group of people that are falsely claiming to be the ‘voice of the people’.
We wonder what the worst kind of customers you might have experienced during your time?…